Guitar Online: Learn To Play Guitar In 4 Quick & Easy Steps

Learning guitar online is one of the best ways to learn guitar in the 21st century. In this epic guide we’re going to share some of our favourite online guitar lessons.

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In this free article you will learn:

  • How to learn guitar online in 4 quick & easy steps.
  • 15 free lessons for guitarists of ALL abilities.
  • 5 easy tips for guitar learners.
  • The no1 secret that will turbo-charge your guitar progress.

An Introduction To Learning Guitar Online

With the volume of teaching resources available to us online nowadays, it’s easy to skip the process of finding a guitar teacher to hire and head straight to Google.

  • There are quite a few essential points that we need to learn when taking our education of guitar online, and we’ve broken them down for you in this guide.
  • We pride ourselves on delivering accurate and easy-to-understand guitar lessons, and we’ve made a point to create a library of them right here on the National Guitar Academy website.

You’ll find many of these lessons sprinkled throughout this lesson, so make sure to click around and let us help shape your learning experience with the guitar online.


Why Not Just Start With A Teacher?

We can never stress enough how important it is to find a guitar teacher at some point in your guitar journey, but you don’t always need to start out with one.

  • With the amount of online resources available to us, starting out learning guitar online can help keep us inspired and exposed to new styles of music and playing.
  • Learning guitar online is a great way to develop your foundation of knowledge – if you know what you’re looking for.

With that in mind, laying out the fine details of what we need to learn is important if we are going to venture out on our own from the beginning.


We’ve laid out the essential steps for developing an effective learning routine.

It isn’t enough to cruise Google looking for bits and pieces of different information – learning an instrument requires direction, practice and focus. 

We want you to become a rockstar so we’ve provided some direction for you in this guide to get you on the right track.


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What Do We Need To Know To Learn Guitar Online?

The essentials elements of playing guitar can be broken down into four main categories:

  • Chords
  • Rhythm
  • Lead
  • Theory

Breaking up the guitar in this way helps us understand the different performance components involved in having a deeper understanding of the instrument.

Learning bits and pieces of the guitar online and using resources from different websites is great, but it can lead to pockets of misinformation in our knowledge.


Pro Tip: There are a few things we can do to make sure that our knowledge lines up when learning new guitar concepts online:

  • Check what you’re learning against what you already know.
  • Find reputable websites with good reviews to learn from.
  • Look for YouTube videos with a high view count from channels with a high subscriber count.

Creating a shortlist of the websites you like to learn from helps keep our education in guitar online moving forward in one direction.


Let’s start to break down the essentials:

Guitar Online – Learning Chords

Chords are the backbone of every song you’ve ever heard.

  • When we strip away the fancy basslines, drum fills and guitar solos, all we have left are chords. This is why they’re so important to learn early on in our guitar journey.
  • Chords should be learned at every level of guitar skill, and can always be applied into whatever we are learning or playing.

The basic beginner shapes we should know are listed below with links to our lessons attached:


At the intermediate level, we should begin to dive into other minor barre chord shapes like B minor, as well as F major to round out our understanding of the essential shapes.

Learning minor 7 and major 7 chord shapes will help add more colour to our chord choices.

By the time we’ve reached the advanced stages of learning guitar online or otherwise, we should have a solid understanding of movable barre chord shapes, and all of the major and minor chords with their suspended cousins.


Guitar Online – Learning Rhythm Guitar

Rhythm can be one of the most challenging aspects to master when learning this incredible instrument, and learning rhythm guitar online without a teacher in front of us can be terrifying.

  • That’s why we dedicated a whole lesson to it – Get started here.
  • Timing is everything, and one of the quickest ways to good timing is learning a variety of different strumming patterns to use on guitar.
  • You can learn how to strum here, and find a quick lesson on strumming patterns here.

Strumming is how we establish the rhythm of a song when playing without a drummer, so make sure to give this a lot of time and practice to really master the concept.


As we progress to the intermediate and advanced levels of our guitar education, we’ll want to focus on more specific approaches to rhythm and strumming.

Learning to skip strings while strumming is important for picking accuracy and clarity, so spend some time focusing on aiming your pick at specific strings.

Never forget that counting out loud will always help us improve our sense of timing and accuracy where rhythm is concerned. Don’t be afraid to yell those beats out loud while you learn.


Guitar Online – Learning Lead Guitar

The flashier side of guitar, as we all know, lies within the realm of lead guitar playing.

  • It’s worth noting that regardless of if we learn guitar online or with a teacher, we should always focus on our rhythm first.
  • Learning this way will not only help make our playing smoother but tighter as well.
  • By now we should have a pretty solid grasp on tablature, but if not you can click here to catch up.

Learning lead guitar doesn’t just have to be made up of learning other people’s guitar solos – we should aim to be able to one day write our own.

Learning our scales is one of the most important things we can do to benefit our guitar knowledge. Scales show us what notes go together and how, and they teach us how to speak with our guitar.


Start with the E minor and A minor pentatonic scales to get a feel for hand shapes and positioning, and then move on to major scales from there.

  • For the intermediate players learning guitar online, aim to memorize scale shapes in multiple keys.
  • For example, if you already know how to play the A minor pentatonic scale, learn to play it in every other key (B at the 7th fret, C at the 8th, etc).

The blues scale is also a concept that we should be exploring in this phase of our journey to give us a better sense of expression.

At this level, we want to aim to understand what notes lie where on the fretboard so we can have a better understanding of scales.


For our advanced players, note memorization is a must, and scales should start to come naturally to us by now.

Here are some of our favourite lead guitar lessons:

Pro Tip: Learning our scale shapes in 12 keys will give us the clearest mental map of the fretboard, and understanding the modes of the major scale will help us develop a unique voice for our instrument.

Focusing on a good amount of music theory while we learn can help us make sense of complex concepts on the guitar.


Guitar Online – Learning Music Theory

Music theory can help us tap into the language of music and learn to speak it.

  • Although not absolutely necessary for playing guitar or write music, theory can help us understand what we are playing, and why it is played that way.
  • Our earliest introduction to theory lies in when we learn the string names. Learning this concept will teach you how to use that knowledge to get around the fretboard easier.

Understanding root notes in chords and how they work will help us build a foundation for building new chords, so make sure to always pay attention to the chords that you’re playing.


There are a lot of theory resources for guitar online, and we’ve got quite a few of our own in our lesson library.

  • We recommend starting out by learning the difference between sharps and flats, and when to use them. This helps us better understand the context of each and why they exist.
  • For our intermediate and advanced players, learning intervals helps you to map out scales and chords with ease. Intervals are the defining characteristics of notes inside of different scales.
  • Once we understand how they work, we can advance our playing by memorizing those intervals inside of different scales.

Once again, note memorization is the biggest goal to work towards when playing the guitar at any level. Building our map of the fretboard through practice can help us unlock many of its secrets.


The Power Of Google

Search engines are pretty powerful these days. The ability to type full phrases into our favorite search engine means we have all sorts of ways to search for new material to help us learn guitar online.

If you’re a guitarist who has specific questions and nobody to answer them for you, try searching it!

For example, if we search “what are the notes in C major” we are immediately given a full answer in google.

Search engines are getting smarter, and we can use this to our advantage when we want a quick answer to a musical question.


Next, let’s tackle the burning question:

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

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Get a custom guitar-learning plan here: Click here for GuitarMetrics™

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When Is The Right Time To Hire A Teacher?

At some point in every guitarist’s journey they should consider hiring a teacher.

  • Some of us who prefer the do-it-yourself approach might scoff at this, but hear us out.
  • As we learn guitar on our own, we’re naturally inclined to pick up little bits of information along the way. As much as this can benefit our learning process, it can also damage it.

A guitar teacher is someone who can help you make more sense of the ideas you have and the concepts that you learn along the way.

Think of guitar teachers like brick layers, helping you build your musical house. You want to make sure that the foundation of your house is secure, so you hire the right people to lay the bricks down and pour concrete.


This is not to say that you need a guitar teacher for the rest of your life.

It is to say however, that at some point you should consider sitting down with someone (online or in-person) who can help you make sense of the concepts that you have learned, but don’t yet fully understand.

Knowledge takes time to form and unravel in our minds. We will never learn anything overnight, but we can learn more effectively with the right hands to guide us.


Pro Tip: Any great guitar teacher will never try to change any style that you have built for yourself – they will only try to make it better. Remember that as much as we know, there is always someone else who knows more. Surround yourself with great teachers that you can discuss music with, and you’ll always be a step ahead.


The National Guitar Academy Lesson Index

We’re all about music education and helping new guitarists find their way in this information-packed age of the Internet.

  • Choosing to learn guitar online can launch us into a massive sea of information, and we wanted to create a place where guitarists can find a wide variety of accurate and reliable guitar education.
  • That’s why we created the National Guitar Academy Lesson Index.

This is a comprehensive list of our guitar lessons that we’ve published on our website – all in one place. Check it out!


Top Tip!

If you’re here looking for an answer to a specific question, you can visit the lesson index and use the CTRL+F function on your keyboard. Type in the key word of what you’re looking for in the ‘Find’ function of your browser, and you’ll find the corresponding lesson (ex. Type ‘F Chord’ to find our section on F Chords). If you’re a mac user, you can use the CMD+F function on your keyboard.

Oh, and did we mention? All the lessons in our index are FREE!

Where do I go from here?

If you want to keep learning guitar online, we recommend:

  • Check out our YouTube channel!
  • Practice slowly and efficiently.
  • Start a practice journal to log your practice routine.
  • Watch interviews with some of your favorite guitarists.
  • Explore a new genre of music!

Recommended Resources

If you’ve managed to get through all of the lessons in this article, we’ve got five more below for you to keep you busy:

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